2019-02-24: Topic of the Month – Warm

When I woke up this morning, it was -28C; decidedly not warm here.  But the sun is shining, and bundled up, Spencer and I managed a couple of nice walks today.  It still doesn’t feel like spring is around the corner; but hopefully that will change soon.

Last week, I flagged several landscape images from my travels for editing throughout the week, and while working on them, I realized that not only do they all fit into the theme of being taken in warm places, but they were all taken on the fly.  If I asked guides to stop every time I saw something interesting, we certainly wouldn’t get very far, so I have become rather comfortable with snapping away out of a moving vehicle.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes, not so much.

I hope you enjoy my selection of images this week.

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The Hoanib riverbed off in the distance.  The shear drop off is the bank of the river, showing just how much water has been through the area at times.  When we were visiting, there were only a few small pools, and it had been an exceptionally generous wet season.  Namibia, April 2017.
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As the day heats up, the wind in the desert picks up, causing sand storms to whip through.  Hoanbia Camp, Namibia. April 017.
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One of the beautiful desert vistas near Hoanib Camp.
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Palm trees are a symbol of a warm climate to me.  I love the shape of the leaves, and how they stand out against the sky.  This was just before sunset while heading back to Leroo La Tau camp on the Boteti Rover.  Botswana, May 2017.
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The Baines Baobabs standing tall in the midday heat.  Nxai Pans National park, Botswana. 
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A beautiful sunrise in the Sabi Sands.  The chill of the early morning burnt off in short order once the sun was up.  South Africa, May 2017.

 

2018-10-21: Comparing software for landscape images

I’m back from a very restful holiday to Southern California and a night sky photography workshop at Joshua Tree National Park last weekend.  I’ll have some photos and stories to share from that in the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to get back to my topic of the month, reviewing how On1 Photo Raw, Luminar and Topaz Studio compare in editing images with different issues.  The last post focused on high ISO, noisy images, and today I wanted to look at landscape images, and see how the different programs deal with removing sensor spots and other distractions.

I’m using images from my last trip to Southern Africa, as I was using the Nikon D610 on that trip, and that camera collected sensor dust very quickly.  I had the sensor professionally cleaned prior to my trip, and without ever changing the lens, by the end of 4 weeks, I was having spots show up at f8.  The images can be a bit frustrating to edit with so much gunk to remove, but they are great for putting different software to the test.

The first image was edited using Topaz Studio.  There were only a few spots to deal with, since this was shot at 1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 2000.  My camera really wasn’t set for shooting landscapes; I had been taking photos of animals prior and saw this scene and quickly composed and shot on the go (I don’t think the vehicle even stopped for this).

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It was a chilly, misty morning when I shot this on the last day of my South African trip last year.  I am happy with the spot removal from Topaz, and really like that the pockets of fog in the distant hills show up very much as I remember the morning.

Next up was Luminar, and I anticipated issues based on my previous use of the erase function.

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This is the unedited image; I didn’t hold back and sent one of the worst (for sensor spots) sunrise images I had over to Luminar to see how it would manage.
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I first tried using the erase function, and it left larger, yet fainter circles everywhere I clicked trying to remove the sensor spots.  It’s a bit tough to see at this size, but the results are very disappointing (note no other edits were done to this version, other than the attempt at spot removal).

Thankfully, the Luminar clone and stamp tool works very well; so if I had one bit of advice to give, don’t waste your time trying to use the eraser tool, and go straight to clone and stamp for any spots or distractions in your images.

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Using the clone and stamp tool effectively cleaned up all the sensor spots and the software was great for bringing out the beautiful tones to this sunrise image, without it ending up looking oversaturated.

Last, but not least, is an image edited using On1.  I shot this image in the early morning on Ngala Private Game Reserve, just after a storm passed by.  We had a beautiful sunrise, huge cloud banks, a couple of rainbows… I didn’t really know where to point my camera!  I’m really happy with the way On1 dealt with the sensor spots; there was a little bit of noise / graininess in the clouds that I also worked to balance out.

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1/250 sec, f8, ISO 500.

I’m going to call it a draw on this one.  Each program dealt effectively with the limited amounts of noise in the images, and was able to deal with sensor spots and other distractions effectively.  I was able to get results in On1 the fastest, but even with the huge number of spots to deal with in the Luminar image, I didn’t spend more than 5 minutes start to finish editing any of these images.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections for the day; check back next week as I look at editing images of our feathered friends.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

2018-04-22: Wide Angles – Stitched Panoramas

I had planned to put together my GoPro clips from Kenya this week, but time slipped away from me, so I have had to put that off until next week.  Instead, I am sharing some of the stitched panorama images I have created over several trips.

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The landscape is rather unremarkable, but I saw this lone impala running and took some shots hoping I could create something like this.  Botswana, 2015.
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A beautiful sunset to accompany a sundowner drinks stop on Phinda.  South Africa, May 2017.
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The vast skies of the Masai Mara.
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A group of giraffes amongst the fever trees.  Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Kenya.
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Sunrise over the Masai Mara.  Kenya, 2016.

2018-04-03: WPC Rise/Set

The photo challenge topic of the week is sunrise and sunset.  Here is one of each from my travels in Southern Africa.

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Sunrise on my last dat of safari.  May, 2017.
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A flock of red-billed quelea searching for a spot to roost as night falls over the Okavango Delta.  May, 2017

 

 

WPC: Rise/Set

2018-02-11: Revisiting Old Work

Another week, and another trip down memory lane in terms of my photography.  I’m really glad I made the decision to work on images already captured for this month, as we got rather buried in the snow the past week, and I haven’t had the time, or the energy, to get out and try and capture anything new.

This week is a mixed bag of images, shot locally and in Africa, in colour and black and white.

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From 2014, a sunrise image of the Golden Ears from the dikes in Pitt Meadows where I used to walk my dog.  
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Flying over Victoria Falls on the way into Livingstone airport in Zambia.  Previously, I wasn’t really able to pull out any decent texture from photos shot through windows.  Zambia, April 2013.
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Victoria Falls from the Zambian side.  I was very fortunate to see it with just the right water level; enough so the falls looked incredibly impressive, but not so much that it was completely shrouded in mist.  Zambia, April 2013.

For my then and now image, I chose this zebra from my first trip to South Africa. The original black and white conversion was done in Lightroom using a few basic adjustments, not long after I returned from my trip.  The updated image was edited recently using a combination of plugins in Photoshop, including MacPhun Tonality and Topaz Detail.  I’m sure I could achieve similar results simply using On1 Photo Raw (I’m not using Lightroom any longer for processing), but I like the ease of using Tonality for black and white edits.

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Then – a basic black and white conversion lacking a lot of contrast.
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Now – the zebra stands out much better against the foliage, and there is a lot more detail throughout the image.

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

2018-01-01: A New Year Begins

Another year has drawn to a close, and I have welcomed 2018 with open arms. I’ve taken a little break from posting over the past week; it has given me a chance to reflect on my blog, and come up with some plans for the future.

I feel like I lost focus with my blog in 2017; at times posts were rushed or forgotten about altogether; shoved to the bottom of a to-do list that never seemed to get any shorter. I’m sure that is something that everyone struggles with from time to time, and I am very grateful for everyone that continued to view my posts and photos, despite the lack of focus.

For 2018, I have decided that I need to add some structure to my photographic life; in terms of continuing education, time out in the field and with my editing. I have a couple of year long photo projects that I am finalizing, but I am also planning to explore a different topic each month, and use that to guide my reading, shooting and editing. I really thrive when I have schedules and plans of action, so I am hoping that this will ensure that I am getting out to shoot regularly, and be able to post some interesting content each month.

For January, I am going to focus on the frozen world. With the cold temperatures we have been having, it is a timely starting point. I’ll be posting on the topic each Sunday in January, and then move onto something new for February.

I’ll be working to participate more regularly in the WordPress topic of the week, and will still be posting my usual Monochrome Monday and Wordless Wednesday posts.  I still have lots of images from my last trip that I am working on as well, so I should have lots of content to share over the year ahead.

Below are a few photos from out and about over the last couple of weeks; its not much, but it gets the ball rolling.

Here’s to a fantastic year ahead.

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This is why I love getting up early.  A beautiful sunrise greeted me while out for a morning walk with Spencer a few weeks ago.
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A few of the 7 deer that stopped by the yard late yesterday afternoon.
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Right now, the time between sunrise and sunset is rather brief.  We do get a beautiful long twilight period though, which looks even prettier with some snow on the ground and in the trees.  A quick snap while out for an afternoon walk, it was too cold to stop and do much more!

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.